“I’ve always been a humongous fan of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘The Wiz’ and ‘Wicked,’” explained performer Todrick Hall.
The YouTube star and “American Idol” Season 9 finalist will bring his own unique musical interpretation of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, “Straight Outta Oz,” to the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale this week.
Hall continued, “The story has always been very personal to me, the story of my life and my career and my amazing mom.”
His show features original songs and a cast of 20 singers and dancers.
“It’s crazy. There are lots of little pieces and moving parts,” he said of the stage production. “I live on fumes of energy,” as he combines the demands of touring with his weekly music video shoots.
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The performer became an Internet sensation after posting a video of himself singing in a McDonald’s. That initial effort has now been viewed by more than 30 million people. Hall quickly recognized that his success could also become an important source of income and a way to promote his performing career.
The popularity of his videos and international fan base also propped up his confidence during the grueling stint on reality singing competition, “American Idol.”
“I lost a lot of confident singing on Idol,” Hall recalled. “Simon Cowell ripped me to shreds. I thank YouTube for helping me build my confidence.”
SFGN spoke to Hall shortly after the murder of fellow reality show contestant Christina Grimmie by an obsessed fan in Orlando and the horrific massacre by an Islamic terrorist days later just across town at Pulse nightclub.
“She was a fellow YouTuber,” Hall pointed out.
The night before her murder, Hall composed a song called, “Water Guns,” about how he and his father would play.
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“It was a sad situation, odd and ironic,” he said. “I shot (the video) the next night. It really opened my eyes to the fact that life is so fragile. After living in Los Angeles and New York for so long, you lose sight of so many parts of our country and the world that don’t understand us,” speaking to his homosexuality. “My heart was so heavy during the shooting of that video.”
Hall donated a portion of the box office receipts from his Orlando show to Grimmie’s family and the victims of the Pulse attacks.
In the meantime, Hall’s star continues to shine. He is serving as a resident judge on Logo TV’s current season of “RuPaul’s All-Star Drag Race.”
“He’s such a great role model,” Hall said of the show’s host. “He’s my fairy drag mother … I’ve learned so much during the filming. I’m just on cloud nine. I’m having the best summer of my life.”
This week, Hall is focused on his show and the audiences who will fill the Broward Center.
“I’m a Broadway kid at heart and I love performing live,” he said. “Every time I make a video, I think about how I would do it live.”
Todrick Hall stars in “Straight Outta Oz” at 7:30 p.m. in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets start at $27.50 at BrowardCenter.org.